“The Senior Bowl was very important because that was pretty much the only opportunity to meet with a guy in person, face-to-face and have a conversation. It’s the only chance to feel his energy.” - Anonymous AFC General Manager to ESPN this week.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl has been called a lot of things over the years, including overrated and of little use to some teams, but this year it has been called one of the most important events of the pre-draft process. Maybe the most important outside of the 150 or so medical evaluations that teams got at a limited scouting combine in 2021.
But the Senior Bowl, annually cited as one of the most important weeks of the year for Les Snead and Sean McVay based on how often they draft and sign players who participated in it, has served as one of the only times this year that teams have actually met with prospects face to face. It’s what could make Senior Bowl participants on the first two days of the NFL draft.
And that might not be a good thing for Snead and McVay.
More from ESPN:
“It feels like we know less about this class of players than any class in recent memory,” New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. “Just because of the COVID restrictions, the restrictions on scouts getting into campuses — as well as the fact that there were fewer games played in college football this year.”
The good news is that the list of key Senior Bowl participants this year is far too long for the Rams (the only team that did not attend the Senior Bowl this year, as well as skipping almost every pro day) to ever run out of names from it. The following 35 names are not every player who was there or even all the players that Los Angeles met with (we probably won’t ever know that true list from 2021) but these are names that a) stood out to me as potential day two picks and b) share some varying level of need or reasonable interest to the Rams, and sometimes c) I personally think they warrant mention.
But the list is NOT comprehensive and I’m sure I’ve unreasonably omitted a few names that belong. Got an opinion of one of those painful leave-offs? The full rosters are here and the comments section is below.
Senior Bowl participants
- Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech
- Thomas Graham, CB, Oregon
- Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota
- Hamilcar Rashed, LB, Oregon State
- Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
- Chazz Surratt, LB, UNC
- Tony Fields, LB, West Virginia
- Spencer Brown, OL, Northern Iowa
- Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
- Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
- Aaron Banks, OT, Notre Dame
- Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater
- James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati
- Demetric Felton, RB/WR, UCLA
- D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
- Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
- Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
- Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
- Richie Grant, S, UCF
- Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
- Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
- Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
- Carlos Basham, DE, Wake Forest
- Payton Turner, DE, Houston
- Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
- Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
- Trey Smith, G, Tennessee
- Ben Cleveland, G, Georgia
- Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
- Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
- D’Ante Smith, OL, East Carolina
- Tre McKitty, TE, Georgia
- Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
- Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
- Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
A few days to go until the second and third rounds of the draft. Who is standing out to you?